My lame story -- I'm overwhelemed and feel defeated.

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Chicken Keith, Jun 15, 2016.

  1. Chicken Keith

    Chicken Keith Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dogs (two stray labs) wiped out my flock of 6 Marans (except for one roo) in Feb 2012. My birds were protected really only by a Premier1 electric net fence. Since I hatched my 6 marans in April 2011, the fence did it's job for a good while.

    In Aug 2014 a skunk raided my chicken house killing 1 baby turkey poult under a mama chicken each night for 4 nights. I had 5 poults, I managed to save one. I killed the skunk. No more poults killed.

    In July 2015, with a flock of beautiful breeder Marans, two Husky dogs (neighbor's breeders) wiped out 22 of my 32 birds, in a killing frenzy that my wife interdicted while I was at work. I got to come home to feathers and bodies strewn about the yard. Too many to bury, my son and I got the gasoline, lit the brush pile and threw birds on in a pyre.

    Even after all this, I was still using the Premier1 fence. I was in denial, I loved that solution, I wasn't changing. How stupid!

    Then Fri Jan 29th 2016, I came home from work, to find 6 of my remaining 10 birds killed again, obviously by a dog or dogs. These 6 birds were to be used as my seed stock to get my Marans breeding going again.

    I'm not going to go into the details of the relationship between my neighbor (who is not a next door type, but she lives in a subdivision over several hundred yards away) and me, nor how the police got involved. That's not the purpose of this post. My purpose is to get your thoughts on how I can rest peacefully, knowing my birds can have maximum ranging.

    Then in March 2016, a hawk got one of my 3 week old Cornish Rock broilers (not only do I have pet Marans, but I raise meat birds for the freezer too). A game bird netting top cover was now necessary. ARGHHH!

    So, I ditched the Premier1 fence in favor of 10x6ft dog kennel panels from Tractor supply. A very expensive proposition. My backyard looks like Guantanamo prison now!

    But chain link fencing does not prevent wild critters from gaining access. It prevents dogs (my biggest threat until now) but it does not deter raccoons or possums who can sneak through the bottom of the seams if the panels have curved corners (understand this?). Squirrels who don't pose a threat to my birds easily get in and eat their feed. That's not a big problems but squirrels can do a number on game bird netting on the top of the pens.

    Raccoons got in and obviously molested my turkeys, not killing them, but terrorizing them and there were feathers everywhere like the birds had been in a chicken fight.

    Ok, now my point--sorry for the long story. I think I need to return to an electric fence solution. It is effective on the wild predators. It doesn't do squat to a domestic dog who just wants to play with a bird to death. But I need an electric fence PLUS the Guantanamo War on Terror style prisons, to form layers of security. BUT, I have seen some people put electric fencing around pens, 6inches from the ground and held out 6 inches from the chain link. Does anyone do this?

    Also, I'm packing more heat now. The final thing is I have not resorted to a livestock guard dog. I'm very intimidated by this, time in training and worry of training failure and failure to keep FIDO home, like so many LGD owners have a problem with. Your thoughts are welcomed.
  2. bullrunslabs

    bullrunslabs Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 3, 2016
    I have 6' garden fencing, it has 2" x 3" rectangles I believe around three sides of my chicken coop. I have a 9' x9' coop raised slightly off the ground with a solid wood floor. I have 42 birds that come in to perch each night, and are locked in. Each morning about an hour after sun up I turn them out and feed them. I have a 4' X 6' mini coop with a fenced yard inside of the main hen yard for the younger birds, and a separate brooder box for the hatchlings. All of my air vents are covered with 1/2 welded hardware wire. As well as any holes about the size of a quarter. None of my runs are covered as they are in a forested area, but the crows are becoming an issue for stealing feed and possibly eggs. I put electric fence along the exterior of the yard when I am away. We have had to use it for opossums in the past. Our greatest threat was a weasel, and 2 running dogs while they were free ranging. I was right there with you until I decided to weasel proof and became religious about locking them up at night. Best of luck!
  3. babsbag

    babsbag Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 12, 2010
    Anderson, CA
    I have used hot wire at the bottom of my coop, about 4" off of the ground. I too was using the chain link kennel panels and it seemed to work well. I have a different coop now that has solid flooring, is off the ground, and has mostly solid walls.

    I also have two LGDs. It is too bad that they don't come trained. While I really tried to train them not to eat the chickens all that really worked was time. At about 18 months they stopped harassing the birds and now I don't worry about predators, other than hawks during the day. There are trained LGDs out there for sale, but not cheap nor easy to find. If you get a pup count on some losses and about 2 years before they are trust worthy. They are a big committment and as far as keeping mine home, I have hot wire top of the fence and at the bottom of the fence, no climbing or digging.

    I also raise goats so the LGDs are for them, the poultry was just an added bonus.
  4. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps

    Couldn't you put the electric netting around the outside or even inside of the kennel panels using stand offs?

    With some simple PVC stand-offs and nylon zip ties you should be able to stretch the netting taunt about 1-2" off the chain link...

    It could be as easy as zip tying 48" long 1" PVC 'post' to the chain link every say 2 feet and then attaching the electric netting to that just like you would a fence pool, this way the PVC acts just like a fence post but also acts as an insulator between the electric netting and the chain link...

    In regards to the rounded corners of the dog kennels, I would get some pressure treated plywood and cap off the corners, a big hole is an invitation if an animal sees it, blocking it off with plywood hides the obvious hole...

    As for the neighbors dogs, SSS... (Shoot, Shovel, Shut up) in most areas you are legally protected if you do it while the animal is in the act of attacking your livestock...

    And a cheap video surveillance system provide cheap insurance if there is any doubt the dog was doing the deed, if the SSS is ever found out...
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2016
    1 person likes this.
  5. ChickenLegs13

    ChickenLegs13 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 4, 2013
    Lower Alabama
    I'm a big fan of electric fencing. It's quick, easy, & cheap to install and will keep anything in or out. Not just limited to wire but now they make electric string, electric rope and electric ribbon to suit any application.
    I had it around my pens once but I kept shocking myself so I quit using it there.
    8 strands spaced @ 4-6" intervals with alternating hot and grounded strands should do the trick.
  6. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps

    Electric is hardly that fool proof, as evidenced by the OP netting not stopping predators... Another example is my llamas who are very respectful of traditional fencing, but the previous owner warned me that they found out their fur insulated them from electric fences and they either pushed them over or simply crawled through the wires she was constantly finding them outside the fenced area and repairing broken electric fencing... Electric is a decent deterrent and containment system but far from fool proof...

    Also be aware of the legality of electric, in my area most communities have outlawed it in residential zoned areas...
  7. a704

    a704 Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 26, 2013
    NE ohio
    Not sure if this will help you but when I catch and kill a roaming predictor near my chickens I leave their bones around the chicken coop, after 5 sets of bones I noticed the raccoons would avoid my house, at least until spring when the pups go out on their own and must learn the hard way
  8. ChickenLegs13

    ChickenLegs13 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 4, 2013
    Lower Alabama

    Well, you gotta build a good fence. If a small animal like a Llama can push over a fence, then it wasn't much of a fence. I know my electric perimeter fence will stop a Ford 9N or a slow moving truck in it's tracks (personal experience, lol) and running deer & horses just bounce off it.
    That's beside the point though.
    I don't think Chicken Keith is trying to keep out any wooly mammoths, just the occasional dog.
    I too wondered why Chicken Keith's Premier fence wasn't effective. Electric fence isn't just plug & play & forget about it. Without proper charger, grounding, and weed control it's useless.
    In Alabama, not only can you kill a dog for killing your livestock & poultry, you can kill it for "worrying" your animals, and the dog owner held liable for double the value of the stock or injuries caused. Here SSS means shoot shovel sue.
    See Ala Code Title 3, Chapter 1, Sections 1-6
  9. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps

    Small animal? They are 400lb animals it doesn't take much to break most electric wires, robbins or fences if pushed against...

    I would love to replicate your 'test' and see if it held true, but anyway if that is true it's far from your normal electric fence, what gauge wires, kind of electric strands and how many strands at what spacing do you have hat it will stop a truck? Also what size post did you drop, what is the spacing and how deep that they can stop a truck?

    And do you really believe most chicken owners are going to or should build a truck stopping electric fence around their birds?

    I don't wonder, it's simply not infallible...
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2016
  10. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 18, 2016
    From a distance, it sounds as if the fencer you are using is not hot enough.

    Could be any number of reasons from not packing enough of a wallop by design, bad ground, but just know, not all fencers are created equal.

    A really hot one should deter just about anything. A dog......any dog.....when he hits a hot fence ought to yelp and run like he stole something.

    With the right poultry netting setup, about all you should have to worry about is hawks and owls.

    I have this thing running on an electric fence and I wouldn't touch that fence for cash money (or anything else).

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